ASK IRA: Could Blazers snooze and lose out on Heat’s best Damian Lillard offer?

Q: Just as Kevin Durant was moved at midseason, do you think it might not be a bad situation to start the season with our current roster and see how they do? Maybe Tyler Herro really takes off and we don’t need Damian Lillard? – Bob, Davie.

A: The timing of the Damian Lillard situation is not the Heat’s timing, and never has been. That part of the equation is controlled by the Trail Blazers, who have the player under contract for four more seasons. In that regard, the “when” does not belong to the Heat. But unlike with Jimmy Butler in 2018, when he was with the Timberwolves and Pat Riley said enough was enough at the start of that season, the Heat are in a different place at the moment. A place where they are living in the moment. So when the Blazers want to talk, seriously talk, the Heat will pick up the phone. What the Heat are not going to do is put life on hold in the interim. And if Tyler Herro at some point shows the Heat he is a long-term keeper and long-term answer, possibly better long-term value, then Portland’s loss. You snooze, you could lose out on a needed trade component, either for yourself or for another team’s draft pick(s).

Q: What do you think the biggest offer the Heat are willing to give up for Damian Lillard is? – Ren, Stuart.

A: “Willing” is your operative word there. I’m sure the Heat would like to limit the equation to perhaps Tyler Herro, cap filler (Kyle Lowry? Duncan Robinson?), no more than two first-round picks, and no more than one prospect (Nikola Jovic? Jaime Jaquez Jr.?).  But it also comes down to what the Blazers will require, or at least insist is equitable. As with the Heat’s trade for Shaquille O’Neal back in the day, what you want is to get the negotiations down to what is the one swing piece that makes or breaks that deal.

Q: Explain to me why, if Portland doesn’t want anything to do with Tyler Herro why we can’t keep him and still go after Damian Lillard? Why does he have to be part of a three-team trade? Is there a scenario where Herro can be kept? – Marc, Arlington, Texas.

A: I guess there could be a scenario, but I would think that would be a stretch, since the Heat have limited ability to otherwise create first-round picks to put in a package to a team looking to rebuild for the future. Plus, the salaries of Jimmy Butler plus Bam Adebayo plus Damian Lillard plus Tyler Herro might be a bit much even with the utmost willingness to go deep, deep, deep into the tax.